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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Pastels and Water...How Wet Can your Paper Get?

'Purple Rain'        8x10          pastel      ©Karen Margulis   $145 here
I have been having so much fun exploring pastels and water.  I have been spraying my finished pastels with water and seeing what develops. It is kind of like watching a polaroid photo unfold. (remember them?)  I love the wild abandon and unexpected outcomes.  If you want to be loose and less controlling in your work it is an excellent technique to try.  If I haven't convinced you to try spraying water on your pastels yet have a look at the last few blog posts!

The only issue I have with the process is that I seem to have gotten the best results on Ampersand Pastelbord.  I like this surface but it is more expensive than regular sanded papers and for such an experimental technique I don't want to spend $6 plus on an experiment that may not work!


  • UArt to the rescue!   So for today's painting I decided to try just a plain unmounted piece of Uart paper. It happened to be 500 grit.  I taped it to my foamcore support and blocked in my painting with Terry Ludwig pastels.  I sprayed the clouds with some water and to my delight the pastel lifted and formed puddles. I got the paper pretty wet!  Yes it did buckle and wave, quite a bit actually.  I let it dry somewhat and then i covered the surface with glassine paper and placed some heavy books on top for several hours.


The painting dried flat after being weighed down with the books and a cool thing happened. The glassine paper had wrinkled and made an impression onto the wet pastel. These lines dried and formed my purple rain!

Now I know that I can experiment to my heart's content without worrying about expensive surfaces!  This Uart paper sure does take abuse!

6 comments:

Jennifer Edwards said...

Gorgeous Karen!!

Itaya Art said...

What a lovely painting! I love the effect the water left behind. The title is perfect too. :)

Donna T said...

Very cool techniques, Karen! I've enjoyed your posts from the last couple of days very much. I wonder if putting crumpled Saran Wrap over the wet pastels would give you the same effect as it does with wet watercolors? I have seen that technique used to enhance the look of rocks but it might create an interesting all-over texture too!

Karin Goeppert said...

I really like your "Purple Rain".
I just tried it on Pastelmat. The effect is not as loose and interesting as on UART (very expensive over here of course!!!!!)That is probably because Pastelmat is so much smoother than UART. But I will try it with a smaller piece. It is freeing and it kills the control freak in us.
Thanks for posting this.

Bethany said...

Beautiful! Just ordered the UART sampler pack from Jerry's to do a larger piece with a watercolor or alcohol wash underpainting. Glad to hear that it holds up well to water!

Chunbum Park said...

It reminds me of winter that is coming soon. Nice work!